Work From Home Injury Advice – Am I Covered?
Currently, at least 25% of Americans continue to work from home as an effect of the pandemic. But what about the thought of a work from home injury? How is that factored and what coverage is available? At the height of the coronavirus in 2020, over 3.9 million Americans completed their jobs from their home offices. Some businesses continued these remote positions, however, to keep employees safe. They also found enhanced productivity on the part of these workers.
Businesses turned positions to remote opportunities during the pandemic to protect their employees from illness. Sometimes, however, a company cannot keep a staff member safe from injuries and other health-related concerns, whether working from home or not. That is where workplace injury compensation can help.
File a claim for workplace injury with Hutzler Law to help you gain the benefits you need. In most cases, as long as you are in the middle of work-related tasks when you receive an injury, you will receive compensation. It does not matter if you were in the actual office or not.
Steps to Take for a Workplace Injury Claim for Work from Home Injury
Immediately after your injury, you need to seek medical care so that it does not become worse. Be sure to contact your immediate supervisor as soon as possible and explain the details of what happened too. You can provide pictures since the injury occurred in your office if they back up your claim.
If you have a significant injury, you will need to have a trusted person help you. Ask them to take photos of where the accident occurred and of your injuries. You may even need them, however, to contact your employer for you.
This trusted individual or yourself should then contact Hutzler Law to receive your compensation. Bring along the medical records and the photographs from the incident. Make sure to give a detailed description to your attorney so that you get the most coverage possible.
Common Types of Workplace Injuries Covered
Understand that a workplace injury claim will cover medical issues that occurred while you were on the clock. You had to engage in some aspects of your essential job functions. The types of injuries you may face when working remotely include:
- Automobile accidents if you have to go out in the field or transport work-related material
- Defects of products given to you by your employer
- Exposure to toxic chemicals
- Accidents from fallen, heavy office equipment
- Tripping over cords or when carrying something
- Slip and fall
For any of these work-related injuries and others not listed, you have a year to file a claim. If there was a third party involved, according to ARS 12-542, you have two years for your claim. The two-year mark relates to the incident causing the injury or the discovery of a medical problem.
If you partner with another business in your remote position, they may be a third party. If this business is negligent and causes your injury, you can sue them. If the suit follows through, you can receive medical compensation. Instances in which injuries can come in this manner include:
- Vehicle accidents when in another company’s vehicle
- Defects of products made by partner organizations
No matter if the third party is another company or not, however, you can still file a workplace injury claim too. You do have to provide evidence that negligence was present. When working with Hutzler Law, the attorneys can prove that you faced medical damages caused by these alternate parties. The lawsuit will then cover any expenses not paid out by your workers’ compensation claim.
Differences in Workplace Injury Between Remote and Office Jobs
Workplace Injury claims are valid whether you work from home or in a typical office environment. Location does not matter if you offer this type of insurance. When working from home, however, it can be more complicated to prove that an injury came from work-related tasks.
If an employee trips, for instance, while doing something in the office, the person could receive an injury. For an incident occurring at home, all parties would review the evidence to determine if you completed work-related tasks.
A claim will not go through if the employee does not have permission for the work-from-home tasks. Again, however, the staff member only has to prove to the court that the actions involved work. Most of the time, it is better to approve the claim for the employee to avoid a potential lawsuit.
Are Employees that Switch Between the Office and a Remote Location Covered?
As mentioned throughout, location is not typically a factor in a workplace injury claim. All that matters is that the employee engaged in their required tasks when injured. The cause could happen at the office or the remote or home location.
What is the Personal Comfort Doctrine?
The Personal Comfort Doctrine is defined as a legal principle that deters employers from penalizing employees from taking acts relating to the employee’s personal comfort such as short breaks for food/beverage, using the restroom, personal smoke breaks, seeking relief from discomfort, and the likes. It is reasonable for an employee to take a short break for coffee, a snack, or the bathroom at any point in the workday. These actions occur both at home and in the office.
Under the Personal Comfort Doctrine, injuries that occur during these activities aforementioned can receive work-place injury compensation. Employers have to give employees a reasonable amount of time to remain comfortable to complete their required tasks. Any dangers that occur during these quick breaks are, therefore, inevitable.
Most courts will look at the evidence to determine if the staff member worked right before the short break. They will also ensure that the employee does not engage in any unnecessary yet risky behaviors. Finally, they will ensure that the time taken was not too long and that the worker returned to their tasks shortly.
Is the Business Responsible for Remote Working Conditions?
First and foremost, businesses should only allow trustworthy employees to work from home. The work is done without supervision, meaning the only witness is often the staff member him or herself. After injuries, investigations need to be thorough.
Employers cannot force their employees to set up their offices in a certain way. What they can do, however, is provide risk management information to help prevent accidents. If you are a business owner, your employees can even sign a contract stating their responsibility in safety.
One point a business can require is that a room or area of the home is for work purposes only. The company can provide equipment and furniture that it knows meets the safety standards in place. These steps will help to minimize the risks associated with remote work.
Setting Up the Home Work Station to Avoid Work from Home Injury
Most work-from-home incidents occur in the workspace. Employees are likely to disregard common-sense practices as they feel comfortable in their own homes. Business owners should encourage their staff members to follow the tips below to avoid a workplace injury claim.
- Set up a chair with ergonomic designs and a desk at the appropriate level
- Put the computer and keyboard in the right place that will keep your back and wrists comfortable
- Use a phone with a headset to avoid tripping over wires to answer a call
- Reduce eye strain by minimizing blue light exposure
- Use cable clips and other storage mechanisms to put away tripping hazards
- Install a fire alarm near the office space to alert you to potential dangers
Do Remote Employees Need Their Own Insurance?
Most employers offer workers’ compensation for both remote and local employees that add coverage to those injured while performing tasks related to their job. For those that do not have coverage, legal action can bring you the compensation you need for your injuries. Do not worry about filing a claim with your insurance because the incident is the employer’s responsibility.
Hutzler Law Can Help with a Work From Home Injury
A workplace injury, even one that happens at home, can cause significant damage, both financially and physically. Your employer, however, should still cover you as a remote worker in case of injury.
File your workplace injury claim with Hutzler Law, and if your workplace does not have this coverage, a lawsuit can be filed to get coverage for your losses.